Radio is about attracting listeners and keeping them. Email marketing works the same way, only it’s even more personal. So, when a listener decides to give you his or her personal information, you need to treat it like the treasure that it is. Do not abuse the privilege, because your listener can revoke your privileges at any time by unsubscribing or simply deleting your Email.
What follows are some ways you can show your database some love.
Keep your promise. Whether implicitly
stated on your Email sign-up form or implied, you are making a promise to your
listeners to provide them with information that they care about, and protect
them from information that they do not want. This is not an easy task. Your
audience, and hence your database, are made of up individuals with different
interests and lifestyles. But they do share one thing in common. They are fans
of your radio station. So, when you communicate with them, make sure your Email
reflects your radio station: your core music, your promotions, your
personalities, your sense of community and the other elements that fit the commonalities
that your audience represents.
Go beyond your on-air product. If the major station promotion is giving away tickets on-air to the hottest concert in town, give the database an opportunity to win exclusive front-row tickets online. If you are teasing a “major station announcement” at 7:20 Thursday morning, spill the beans to your database on Wednesday afternoon with an exclusive “we’re telling you first” Email. Don’t be afraid to scoop your own-on-air product or one-up your own contest. You are not giving this information to just anyone. You are telling your database, which is made up of loyal listeners who have trusted you with their personal information.
Content is king. In a perfect world, every radio station would have a Digital manager, someone whose job it is to make sure your website, your App, your social media and your Email blasts and newsletters appeal to your audience. The Digital manager would sit in promotion and programming meetings and be completely in touch with what’s going on at the station, in the community and with the station’s personalities and core artists.
For stations without a designated person, simply keep your digital presence top of mind when discussing new opportunities in promotional meetings. If you are getting ready to introduce a new afternoon drive personality, take a moment to think about how you would like to announce it to your database. If you are going to stage a live remote, send a targeted Email blast just to the people in your database that live or work in close proximity to your remote location.
The right balance between station imaging, contesting and sales. Radio stations are finding ways to tap into available Digital dollars. Email blasts and newsletters are a great way to deliver your advertiser’s message directly to active listeners. Therefore, the same balancing act that sales, programming and marketing deal with regarding your on-air product is necessary with your Email strategy. What is the proper balance? There’s no magic formula, so it depends on your understanding and ability to take sales-driven content and make it interesting to your audience.
How much Email should you send? It comes down to your ability to create quality content and your understanding of your audience’s lifestyle and expectations. The good news is that you already have these skills and apply them to your station’s programming each day. For instance, let’s say you are programming a station that skews younger. In general younger listeners spend more time in the digital space and are more likely to accept messages via email and other digital forms. However, younger listeners are also more likely to lose patience if you don’t deliver content that interests them.
Take it slow when rolling out your Email strategy. Schedule a newsletter to go out at the same time each month (i.e., the second Wednesday of each month). Make sure it’s someone’s responsibility at the station to plan content for that newsletter. As your Email strategy becomes more integrated, you will find that it becomes easier to develop interesting content. At that point you can consider augmenting the monthly newsletter with special Email blasts (our term for one subject emails) when you have something that would warrant it like announcing the major fall promotion.
Respect your privilege. You know that old saying, “If you love someone, set them free”? It doesn’t apply to your database! Once your listeners give you permission to contact them, take advantage of it. Excite them. Entertain them. Give them opportunities to win exclusive prizes. Make them feel like a true insider by announcing things to them before you announce them on the air. Make them feel special. Do not abuse the privilege that they granted you and they will reward you, your station and your sponsors with loyalty.